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  • June/2015

Attending School in the Summer: How to Stay Motivated

by South University
June 25, 2015

Summer is finally here! There are more days of beautiful weather now than not, and it's the perfect time to get outside and enjoy it. The sun, which may have been elusive in the cold of winter and the rain of spring, is finally showing its pleasant face on a nearly daily basis. You can feel your mood improving, and you’re more energized than you’ve felt in ages. The issue is that, while the weather is fantastic, you still need to make sure you stay focused on work and school. So how do you do it? The go-to motivators such as good organizational skills and priority lists still apply, but there are some tactics for success that are unique to the summer months.

Soak up the Sun!
Sure, as an online student, you won’t be able to laze around in the sun day after day without doing any work, but you can find a balance between keeping your nose to the grindstone 24/7 and slacking off. If you have a laptop, you might consider completing some of your assignments outside. If working on your studies outdoors isn’t a possibility, schedule breaks that allow you to enjoy the outdoors. Even ten to fifteen minutes outside watering the plants or sitting out in the sun can make a difference to improve your mood and keep you motivated.

Bring Summer Inside
If you can’t get outside as frequently as you’d like, consider bringing some of the outdoors in. Pick some flowers and put them a vase at your workstation. Change your desktop background to show a picture from a previous family vacation to the beach. Keep your windows open to enjoy the warm, pleasant breeze.

Remember to Stay Focused
You’re earning your degree to learn more about something you love, improve your craft, or potentially land a better job. Always remember that you’re working hard with a goal in mind, and that you won’t be an online student for the rest of your life.

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10 Ways to Become a Better Leader

by South University
June 25, 2015
Leadership

It takes a great deal of time and effort to become an amazing leader. In fact, it’s a constant work in progress. Follow the 10 tips below to take your leadership skills to the next level.

1. Know When to Say “I’m Sorry”

No one is perfect — even the boss. Instead of trying to cover up mistakes, come forward and own them. Your team will have a lot more respect for you if you’re humble enough to admit to your shortcomings, rather than trying to hide behind them.

2. Offer Gentle Criticism

It doesn’t feel good to be constantly corrected by your boss, so think twice before voicing your critiques. Of course you’ll need to provide your team with constructive feedback when you notice they’re not properly completing a task, but make sure you’re doing it in a kind and respectful matter.

3. Seek Expert Assistance for Training

You have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to your team, but sometimes you’ll still need to defer to the experts. Don’t try to train your staff in areas that you’re not proficient in yourself. You don’t want to do your employees a disservice by providing them with anything but the best possible learning experience.

4. Get to Know Your Team on a Personal Level

Your employees are members of your staff, but they’re people first. Take the time to learn more about them as individuals. This will both deepen your bond and help you to learn what motivates them. It’s much easier to work with people when you have a mutual understanding of one another.

5. Don’t be a Know-It-All

You don’t have all the answers — no one does. If a team member asks you a question and you’re unsure of how to respond to it, just say so. No one expects you to know everything, so if you need to look elsewhere to find the correct response to an inquiry, there’s absolutely no reason to be embarrassed.

6. Hire for Cultural Fit

The best person on paper isn’t always the right choice for a position on your team. Keep an open mind and hire for potential. It’s much better to choose someone with a little less experience who truly gets your team and wants to be part of your organization for the long-term, than a highly skilled candidate who just wants a job — any job — until something better comes along.

7. Cultivate Relationships with Your Peers

The greatest leaders have a network filled with friends and associates who are always ready to offer support and advice. Don’t trample those who care about you in the pursuit of success.

8. Accept Failure as a Learning Experience

Every project your team works on isn’t going to be a success. Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes. Instead of forcing your team to power through on projects that clearly aren’t working, accept the situation as a misstep and let them move on to their next initiative.

9. Give Credit When It’s Deserved

If you take all the glory for a group effort, your staff will quickly grow to resent you. Always recognize the efforts and individual contributions of your team members, so they feel valued and appreciated.

10. Choose Wisely When Granting Promotions

It’s only natural to want to promote a standout employee as soon as possible, to keep them happy and avoid losing them to your competition. You should definitely recognize great work, but promoting people before they’re ready can backfire. If a person isn’t prepared to handle the added responsibilities associated with a higher level position, you’re inadvertently setting them up to fail. If you do choose to promote them, it may be wise to offer management training or additional resources that can help them succeed.

Pursuing a career in business? See what degree programs South University offers in the College of Business!

See SUprograms.info page for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Developing a Personal Brand

by South University
June 24, 2015
Developing a Personal Brand

By Patricia “Wynn” Norman, Ph.D.
Public Relations Program Director
South University, Online Programs

She was a successful basketball player in high school. Today when she strides into a room, she still uses her height and athleticism to her advantage. She doesn’t need skirts above her knees to emphasize her fit legs, nor does she want to. This game isn’t about attractiveness. It’s about confidence and power, just like it had been back in high school.

Except now, it’s business.

When you make a conscious effort to present yourself and your work in a specific way in order to sell what you have to offer, that’s the process of personal branding. And no matter what business you are in, to get that job, to keep that job or to get that promotion, you have to sell yourself. Competing for career opportunities requires more than just knowledge, skills or even experience.

Your personal brand is formed by how you dress; how you walk up to people; how you engage in conversation; how you offer your ideas and respond to others; how you work in or lead a team; how you make use of technology, on the job or online; how you organize your time and use other people’s time—your personal brand is all that and much, much more. Anything about you that influences the impression you make on people should be a well-considered element of your personal brand.

For example, when you meet Lesley Francis, owner of the Savannah public relations firm Lesley Francis PR, and recently the moderator of a QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) panel discussion on personal branding at South University, you recognize her brand immediately. Whether she is in elegant pastels, basic black, or a combination of the two, Lesley’s look is tailored to bring out the peaches-and-cream complexion of her native British Isles. Modest heels do not strain to enhance her stature: her composure and directness don’t require that she be tall to be noticed. Meanwhile, however, the creamy pearls that often adorn her neck and ears speak wordlessly of her success.

“As a British born business woman in the USA, I had to modify my personal brand,” Francis explains. “I also had to change my elevator speech to be more appropriate to a North American audience. It is always about being honest and consistent and taking care not to overwhelm – and in my case, sometimes challenge British stereotypes and reassure clients and contacts that I do understand and belong to this business culture – albeit with an international flair and understanding.”

So what can you do to start developing a personal brand that will tell the world you’re open for business? Lesley recommends you stay true to your own values, but also consider the impact you will make on different audiences.

Analyze your audiences and moderate your behavior accordingly,” says Francis. “Remember most people make snap decisions within seconds of meeting you – and sometimes even before you speak. And don’t forget to get serious about your virtual image – what does your email address, Linkedin profile and Facebook photos and postings say about you? Choose how much you want to reveal about yourself online and in person. Tone aspects of yourself up or down, depending on different audiences, but don’t try to live a double life.”

More detailed information about how personal branding can help you reach your career goals is available here.

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Top Reasons to Study Information Technology

by South University
June 18, 2015
Top Reasons to Study Information Technology

If you enjoy keeping up with the latest advances in the broad and ever-changing field of information technology, you may be able to turn your personal interest into a fulfilling career. Learn some of the top reasons to sharpen your tech skills and put them to work.

Choose from Different Career Paths

Information Technology (IT) allows you to take your career in a number of different directions. Become a computer network architect, a computer programmer, a computer systems analyst, a database administrator, an information security analyst, an information architect, a web developer and so much more! South University even offers specializations in Database Development and Administration, Information Systems Security, Network Administration and Management, and Multimedia and Web Development.

Find Work Almost Anywhere

Nearly every company needs a team of savvy computer experts to keep its systems up and running. You can find work in just about every industry you’d like, such as financial services, entertainment, government, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and more.

Thrive as Part of a Team and an Individual Contributor

If you think IT work is completed mostly on a solo basis, you may be surprised to learn it’s actually largely a collaborative effort. You’ll likely be working closely with your colleagues on a number of group projects, allowing you to be part of many larger scale initiatives. Don’t worry if you also like some time to work on solo projects, as you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to complete assignments on your own.

Enjoy the Opportunity to Keep Learning

Companies are aware that technology changes at the speed of light, which is why many organizations invest heavily in the continuing education of information technology workers. Enjoy working in a field where you’re encouraged to never stop learning.

Opt for a Career with Growth Potential

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites the average job growth for all occupations at 11%, from 2012 to 2022. However, the BLS predicts that many IT jobs will far outshine this growth rate, with the demand for computer systems analysts estimated at 25%, the need for information security analysts expected to rise by 37% and a 22% increase in demand for software developers.

Explore Your Creative Side

Much of the IT process actually relies on creativity and problem-solving. This field provides you with the unique opportunity to use your tech skills to come up with innovative solutions to problems faced by your clients, company and the population as a whole. You have the opportunity to use your skills to make major contributions.

Turn Your Talent into a Career

As a naturally tech savvy person, you’ve probably been interested in computers since you were pretty young. You’re in a unique — and wonderful — position to turn something that’s always been a hobby into a rewarding career. What could be better than finding a career that you truly enjoy?

Interested in our Bachelor of Science in Information Technology or our Master of Science in Information Systems & Technology degree programs? Call us at 1.800.688.0932 or request information online today!

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Microsoft Office 365 Now Available to All Students

by South University
June 16, 2015

Office 365 banner

As of June 15, 2015, Office 365 is now available to every enrolled, full- or part-time South University student at no charge to you!

Office 365 provides you with a more robust and easily accessible suite of productivity offerings, ensuring that—as long as you’re a student—you’ll have online and offline access to the latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook online and more.

With Office 365, you will be able to:

  • Install Office 365 software on up to 5 total compatible PCs, Macs and mobile devices
  • Access cloud-based versions of Office applications online
  • Use OneDrive for automatic syncing across all of your devices
  • Easily store class work and project documents– and recall them on any device

Get Office 365 today by clicking on the link on the right hand side of the student portal to access the download.

As of 6/15, student email service has also changed from Google to Microsoft. Most student email addresses have not changed, nor has the way you access your email. When you click on the email link on the portal, you will now see a screen allowing you to choose either Google or Microsoft. Select Microsoft if you want to send or receive e-mail. Select Google if you want to access your old Google data.

Google data is only available for a short time. Access to your Google emails and documents will no longer be available after July 10, 2015. For information on how to save emails and documents from your Google account, see this “How To Export Data From Gmail” guide.

Want more information?

See our FAQ document or contact Technical Support at 888-444-3404 or technicalsupport@southuniversity.edu for fully online students or at 866-848-5515 or campus_support@southuniversity.edu for campus-based or plus students.

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